Labor and delivery nurse Penelope is an expert at her job but a complete mess when it comes to her personal life. After her boyfriend dumps her in favor of saving his marriage, Penelope discovers she’s pregnant. Now Penelope must face motherhood, her greatest fear, or consider the alternatives.
Jesenia, a first-generation American, made her mark as a model then quit the business in favor of a nine-to-five and wedded bliss. After three years of fertility treatments and pressure from her family, trying to become a mother is her full-time job. But when her past mistakes threaten her chances, Nia will have to confront her youthful choices and over-involved family’s opinions on bloodlines if she wants to become a mother.
If choosing a homebirth and nursing a toddler don’t make Lotus unconventional, growing up in a commune and choosing a polyamorous marriage certainly do. After her grandfather’s unexpected death and the inheritance of his Victorian home, Lotus just wants to run her business, take care of her family, and live in her version of normal. That peace is threatened by her husband’s former lover, the end of his sobriety, and a new love interest, all of which will turn her world upside down.
***Thanks to NetGalley and Red Adept Publishing for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
enjoyable/easy to read:
Words We Cannot Say is the poster child for inclusivity in a modern world.
Fast-paced from the beginning, a lot of ground is covered, and you’re expected to jump on board. I was definitely intrigued but uncertain; several characters feel selfish, judgmental, or annoying at first. But as the story continues, these characters become nuanced and more well-rounded. I found my opinion of several of them changing as the story evolved.
While Words We Cannot Say is set in our time and our world, it feels like a utopia. The characters are open-minded and conscious of others’ feelings and beliefs. Covering almost every angle of fertility (and infertility), abortion, adoption, IVF, miscarriage, and stillbirth are all on the table. On top of this, several different relationship models are explored, from extramarital affairs to polyamorous marriage and almost everything in between. This may sound like a lot, but it is all addressed naturally throughout without feeling like a checklist of inclusivity. Because of how much is addressed, it does feel at times that we are getting a quick summary or shallow exploration, but for the most part, I found the narrative to be inciteful and respective of many different life choices.
For an open discussion about fertility and family, I would highly recommend Words We Cannot Say.